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CE addresses Legislative Council (with video)
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     The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, addressed the Legislative Council today (October 17) to elaborate on his concept of governance, review progress made in the first three months of the Fourth Term Government, and outline his policy direction and work priorities in 2013. Following is the address (translated from Chinese) by the Chief Executive:

President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens,

     I am pleased to address this Council just one week after Honourable Members were sworn into office. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you and the public my views on several issues.

     As the term of this Council has just begun, I decided to postpone my Policy Address until January next year so that the new-term Government and Legislative Council will have more time to interact and exchange views on the substance of the coming Policy Address. In two weeks, I will also attend a question and answer session of this Council to listen and respond to your views on what I say today.

     Hong Kong is facing many deep-seated social, political and economic problems. But we also have the conditions and ability to solve them. We enjoy the combined strength of a robust legal system, the rule of law and an advanced city administration system. We have a free and open society, and a clean, experienced and efficient civil service. With "one country" we can ride on the Mainland's rapid development. With "two systems" we can also capitalise on the differences between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

     On the day I was elected Chief Executive, I appealed to the entire community for unity and co-operation as the election contest was over. From that day, we have only one single camp íV and that is, the "Hong Kong Camp". Today, six months after the election, I would make the same appeal again: The Government and all Members of this Council belong to the "Hong Kong Camp". We should seriously assess the new internal and external environment and identify the direction for Hong Kong's development. We should seek change while maintaining overall stability, and rise to the challenges ahead. With one heart and one vision, we will be able to shape a better future for Hong Kong.

Internal and external environment

     First of all, I will talk about the macro environment.

     Although China is the second largest economy in the world, it is still a developing country. Its continued development depends much on a stable international environment. In recent years, new uncertainties have arisen from changes in international and regional relations.

     At present, the world is beset with political and economic uncertainty. The global political landscape is changing. Following the onset of the financial tsunami four years ago, the United States (US) and European economies, once driving forces of the global economy, have remained weak, which exposes underlying structural problems. With high unemployment and huge budget deficits, the US and Europe are in trouble. In Europe, the unprecedented debt crisis has driven some governments to the brink of bankruptcy. The fiscal austerity measures introduced to reduce deficits have brought social unrest. The economic downturn and weak spending power of the US and Europe, which are the largest markets for Chinese products, have an impact on Hong Kong manufacturers in the Mainland and, to a certain extent, the growth of the Chinese economy. All these external factors directly or indirectly affect the economic and social development of Hong Kong.

     I have started today with a brief account of the international environment and the global economy, not because I want to play down local issues or non-economic problems. In fact, there has been much discussion in the community about the core values of Hong Kong, which include liberty, human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and other local issues about which I am equally concerned. I have highlighted the macro economic and political environment in the Mainland and overseas because I hope the community will consider economic and political factors, both internal and external, when discussing local issues so as not to lose sight of the big picture. Hong Kong's social and economic development cannot be insulated from the profound changes in the external environment. Furthermore, local social problems such as poverty, housing and an ageing population cannot be solved without economic strength. In the face of a changing world, we must remain vigilant and alert to threats and dangers so that we can plan ahead to respond effectively to possible changes.

     The Mainland has been, and will continue to be, an enormous hinterland for Hong Kong's development. It provides us with an outlet for investment and talent as well as opportunities for economic restructuring. According to estimates by Hong Kong trade associations in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, there are hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents living and working in these three cities on a long-term basis. The career prospects of our young people lie both in Hong Kong and the Mainland. As some local people pursue careers outside Hong Kong, it has provided space for others to move up the social ladder here. This Government is ready to explore employment and career opportunities in the Mainland for Hong Kong people and to assist various sectors in opening up business opportunities in the Mainland market. The HKSAR Government will study the feasibility of setting up new offices in cities of Central China. We will also enhance the collection of data on the number of Hong Kong people living in the Mainland, their geographical distribution, purpose and duration of stay, and so on to better gauge their situation and the latest trends. We will study ways to strengthen the working relationship between our four Mainland offices and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Tourism Board and Invest Hong Kong. A closer partnership among these four parties will help promote Hong Kong's key advantages, including the Hong Kong brand, and support Hong Kong people and enterprises in the Mainland in their career and business development. At the same time, we will continue to deepen regional co-operation with the Mainland. Specifically, we will try to secure early and pilot implementation of more liberalisation measures in places with a larger cluster of Hong Kong people and enterprises.

     Next, I would like to share my views on several important relationships and issues.

Relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature

     The first one is the executive-legislative relationship. The HKSAR Government cares about, and upholds, the executive-legislative relationship. It is necessary for the Government to establish and maintain constant communication and contact with all legislators to promote constructive interaction between the executive authorities and the legislature. The Government and the Legislative Council have their respective roles and powers and, as such, respective responsibilities. Good co-operation between them is conducive to the full and timely implementation of policies that benefit our people. When that happens, both sides win and both can take credit. By the same token, both sides would shoulder the responsibility if a policy that benefits our people does not come to fruition. The public will assess the performance of both the Government and all Honourable Members. It is not a zero-sum game. Our people have the same expectations of the Government and the Legislative Council. This also demonstrates the nature of the relationship between the two.

     I attach great importance to constructive interaction between the Government and this Council. In the coming few years, a significant number of policy initiatives on social, political, economic and livelihood issues will be tabled in this Council for approval. The HKSAR Government will keep an open mind and maintain dialogue with Members of political groups and independent Members through different ways and means. The Government will explain its principles and positions, while listening to Members' views and suggestions so as to gain their support. The HKSAR Government will fully respect the status, functions and constitutional powers of the Legislative Council. I also hope that all of us will keep in mind the overall and long-term interests of Hong Kong and deal with policy matters in a rational and pragmatic manner.

Relationship between the Central Authorities and HKSAR

     I will then talk about the relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR. The relationship between the Central Authorities and the HKSAR is governed by the Basic Law. The HKSAR comes directly under the Central People's Government, and is authorised to exercise a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law. According to the Basic Law, on top of matters relating to defence and foreign affairs, the powers of the Central Authorities cover a number of other areas such as political structure, administration and external affairs. For instance, the Basic Law stipulates that the appointment of the Chief Executive and Principal Officials is vested in the Central Authorities. There are also provisions concerning the Central Authorities' role in authorising Hong Kong to maintain a shipping register and register the marks of aircraft, and permitting Hong Kong to participate in international organisations and conferences not limited to states.

     The relevant provisions in the Basic Law illustrate that the "autonomy" enjoyed by Hong Kong under "One Country, Two Systems" is a high degree of autonomy as expressly defined in the Basic Law, not autonomy of a different form or content.

     In the 15 years since Hong Kong's return to China, the HKSAR Government has abided by the Basic Law provisions concerning the relationship between the Central Authorities and Hong Kong. I and the current-term Government will uphold Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy under the Basic Law.

Relationship between Hong Kong, the Mainland and other countries

     Next will be my view on the relationship between Hong Kong, the Mainland and other countries.

     The Chief Executive is both the head of the HKSAR Government and the whole HKSAR. As Chief Executive, I have the primary responsibility to safeguard the interests of Hong Kong in our relationships with the Mainland and other countries.

     Hong Kong and the Mainland have become inextricably linked both socially and economically. No matter how we describe this trend, it is an indisputable fact that more and more Hong Kong people are doing business, working, studying and settling in the Mainland. As at October 2011, there were 11 000 Hong Kong students studying at 205 higher education institutions in the Mainland. According to the Guangdong statistics, the number of Hong Kong enterprises in the province has reached 56 000.

     Several years ago, when the meetings of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference were being held, I was invited by Phoenix Satellite Television for an interview in Beijing to talk about the relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Before the programme, the broadcaster had conducted a viewer survey. The results showed that the majority of Mainland residents felt that the Central Authorities were too generous in giving Hong Kong privileges, such as those under CEPA, without asking for similar arrangements in return. My response was that since Hong Kong imposed no tariffs, we could not give tariff concessions to the Mainland in return. I added that over the decades, including before the opening up and reform of the Mainland, Hong Kong people had always cared about the country's development and rendered support in various ways. Both the interview and the survey highlighted one point: We should not assume that people in the Mainland have no views about the preferential treatment that Hong Kong enjoys. The relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland is complementary and mutually beneficial in nature. Apart from properly managing this relationship, we should also properly explain the situation and facts to people in the Mainland and Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government will also step up efforts to project a positive image of Hong Kong in the Mainland, spelling out how we have contributed to the development of our country and what we can continue to do in future.

     As cross-boundary ties become stronger, not only are more Hong Kong people working, doing business, travelling and living in the Mainland, an increasing number of Mainland visitors are also coming to Hong Kong for travel, shopping, education or other services. In recent years, there has been public concern about some of the activities of Mainland visitors to Hong Kong, such as giving birth, buying milk powder, purchasing residential flats, and parallel trading. I and the HKSAR Government are concerned about these issues, and have taken timely and appropriate actions to deal with them. The shopping and other activities of Mainland visitors to Hong Kong have both positive and negative effects to different extents on local residents in different districts and sectors. The HKSAR Government will closely monitor the situation. The HKSAR Government and the Central Government will continue to look at Hong Kong's capacity. We aim to prevent any negative impact on the normal life of local residents caused by the strong demand of Mainland visitors in Hong Kong. It is for this very reason that among more than 600 cities in the Mainland, the Individual Visit Scheme currently applies to just 49 and that this number has remained unchanged for the past five years. This is just one example.

     Unfortunately, these issues are often politicised. During the consultation on the North East New Territories New Development Areas project, some claimed that the project was "turning Hong Kong red" and "selling out Hong Kong". I do not think that such claims reflect the views of the majority of Hong Kong people, but we cannot take this matter lightly. What a small group of people say and do may impact on the relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland.

     I would like to take this opportunity to recap some of the suggestions and proposals I have made in relation to these issues: When serving as Vice-Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the HKSAR, I suggested closed management of the PLA garrison in Hong Kong. Currently, there are nearly 300 000 foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong, earning a total of HK$14 billion annually. Before 1997, I did not agree with the importation of domestic helpers from the Mainland after Hong Kong's return. My view has not changed. In 2003, I supported the implementation of the Individual Visit Scheme, which would help facilitate the development of tourism and the retail industry in Hong Kong. In view of Hong Kong's capacity, I have recommended the Central Government to put a halt to the scheme of issuing multi-entry visas to non-permanent residents in Shenzhen. My recommendation is supported and accepted by the Central Authorities. I have also taken forward the policy of "Hong Kong property for Hong Kong residents" to restrict the purchase of residential flats by non-Hong Kong residents. Shortly after my election, I announced that the quota of expectant Mainland mothers with no ties to Hong Kong allowed to give birth here would be cut to zero in 2013. And I have recently asked relevant departments to join hands to crack down on parallel trading activities.

     In developing the relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland, we must be both principled and proactive. My proposals and decisions just mentioned illustrate how I sought to achieve this before and after our return to the motherland, and before and after I assumed office.

     I am fully confident that Hong Kong can continue to play an active role in the further development of our country. In so doing, we will also foster our own development and provide a wider playing field with more and better opportunities for local people from all walks of life, especially the younger generation.

     Under "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong enjoys a much wider scope in dealing with external affairs than before 1997. The HKSAR Government, using the name of "Hong Kong, China", participates in over 200 international organisations such as APEC, the World Trade Organisation and the Bank for International Settlements. The HKSAR Government has on its own signed more than 300 agreements with overseas and international organisations in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law. With the support of the Central Government, a number of Hong Kong people occupy leading positions in international organisations. Hong Kong has a large concentration of consulates. At present, 122 countries have consular missions in Hong Kong to promote ties with the HKSAR. To reinforce and enhance Hong Kong's status as an international centre for financial services, trade and shipping, we will continue to pursue external relations, including through our 11 Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices overseas, with a view to strengthening interaction and co-operation with international organisations and other countries.

     Hong Kong is an international metropolis. We must make good use of and further develop our international relations. We must also handle properly our special relationship with Mainland provinces and municipalities under the principles of "One Country, Two Systems" and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" with a high degree of autonomy.

     We should have confidence in ourselves. Hong Kong's capitalist system is well developed and stable. Our core values are widely shared among our people. They will not be damaged by our close interaction with the Mainland or other countries. As Hong Kong is an externally oriented economy, we should not close the door and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. We should master both our external relations as well as internal diplomacy. This is crucial to Hong Kong's development.

Relationship between economic development and wealth distribution

     I will then talk about my view on the relationship between economic development and wealth distribution.

     While our society is affluent on the whole, the poverty problem lingers and has even become more acute in certain quarters. From 1996 to 2006, Hong Kong saw a 34 per cent increase in per capita gross domestic product but a drop in earnings among the lowest-earning 30 per cent of the working population. Poverty is not only about social injustice; it is also a political and economic issue. When a considerable part of the community cannot benefit from economic growth, social stability will inevitably be undermined and economic development will also be impeded.

     As a capitalist society, it is understandable that an income and wealth gap exists in Hong Kong. The gap itself is not a problem, but poverty is. While pursuing the common goal of economic development, our society also has the basic responsibility to help the frail and poor and to provide a safety net to protect the livelihood of those who cannot provide for themselves. Economic development and poverty alleviation are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we need persistent and more vigorous economic growth to enhance the capacity of both the Government and the community to tackle poverty and other long-standing social problems.

     The most telling reflection of poverty in our society is poor housing conditions. The re-emergence of cage homes as an issue and the prevalence of subdivided flats and cubicle apartments show the gravity of the problem. Many occupants of such accommodation are long-time residents of Hong Kong who insist on supporting themselves. They deserve our respect, but also need our help.

     The Government has the responsibility to help the poor and other disadvantaged people, and we have a role to play in this regard. A good example is the introduction of the statutory minimum wage last year to alleviate working poverty. This initiative has helped bring about a noticeable increase in income among low-income workers.

     To enhance our poverty alleviation work, we will set a "poverty line" acceptable to the community and with international credibility. This will help us more accurately monitor poverty in Hong Kong, set our policy direction, and measure the effectiveness of our policies.

     In my Manifesto, I proposed providing the elderly in need with an additional allowance. And now, just over three months into my term, my Government has already come up with a concrete proposal and a timetable for its implementation. The new Old Age Living Allowance will take effect from the first day of the month in which funding approval is given by this Council. I have to emphasise that this is neither a cash handout nor a one-off measure. Rather, it will be an on-going poverty alleviation measure targeted at elderly people in need. I understand that some Honourable Members disagree with the means declaration required under the scheme. However, removing this requirement is both irresponsible and financially unsustainable. Introducing the Old Age Living Allowance is not the first step towards universal retirement protection. In fact, the community has yet to reach a consensus on whether a universal retirement protection scheme should be implemented.

     I want to make it clear again that the Government cannot remove, and will not amend, the requirement on means declaration and the limits on asset and income, nor will the Government withdraw the proposal. I sincerely hope that this proposal will be passed by this Council as early as possible to benefit the hundreds of thousands of elderly people in need.

Relationship between the Government and the market

     Next is my view on the relationship between the Government and the market.

     The market is not perfect. Cases of market failure abound in both production and allocation. It has been a long-held practice in countries around the world that when market failure impacts on people's livelihood and economic development, the Government has to exercise its powers to rectify the situation. The public housing programme, industrial land policy and minimum wage legislation in Hong Kong are notable examples. Others include the regulation or control of financial institutions, financial markets and major manufacturing industries (such as the automobile industry) imposed by Western countries in recent years.

     The "positive non-interventionism" that Hong Kong espoused over the years is a vague and contradictory concept. So far, no one has been able to square this concept with the policy measures previously taken by the Government. In the past, the Government actively developed industrial estates and granted land at excessively low premiums, and as a result even non-export oriented companies benefited. The Government of the time also amalgamated the four private stock exchanges into a new corporation through legislation, and required a developer to construct the Trading Hall of the merged stock exchange according to conditions of sale for a piece of valuable commercial land. There were also cases of the Government putting in place policies that intervened in the free market mechanism when granting waters to the private sector for container terminal development. The concept of "big market, small government" that replaced "positive non-interventionism" also cannot meet the needs of Hong Kong today. There are opportunities in Hong Kong, but also obstacles. As I said in my Manifesto, Hong Kong needs an appropriately proactive government that seeks changes while maintaining overall stability. Our industrial, commercial and professional sectors have great potential for development in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas countries, but they may come across some obstacles in the course of development that cannot be removed without government assistance. For example, the difficulties encountered in making use of the preferential arrangements offered under CEPA and other schemes can only be resolved through collaboration between the HKSAR Government and the central or local authorities. This is the "G2G" (Government to Government) approach that I advocate.

     In view of globalisation and the Mainland's rapid development, Hong Kong needs to co-operate, co-ordinate and compete with other parts of the world, including Mainland cities, in order to maintain its existing advantages and build up new ones. To keep its leading position, Hong Kong needs to develop new strengths. The speedy economic development of surrounding areas brings both challenges and opportunities. We should be aware that co-ordination and co-operation can help increase our competitiveness and we must therefore do our best to compete, co-operate or co-ordinate with the Mainland and other countries. We should not be complacent because the present situation also comes with many risks. To achieve synergy among the Government, industry, research and academic sectors, the HKSAR Government is ready to do its best in the public, academic and research sectors. To this end we will exercise public powers carefully, conduct relevant surveys and studies, and develop our human capital.

Relationship between development and conservation

     Next is the relationship between development and conservation.

     With a temperate climate, Hong Kong boasts an impressive diversity of fauna and flora in its hills and sea. The countryside is just a stone's throw from urban areas. Convenient transport and modern facilities make Hong Kong a highly liveable city. While renowned as a cosmopolitan city and a business hub, Hong Kong has managed to keep a balanced mix of urban and rural areas, a good diversity of species, untainted natural landscape and a wealth of special historic buildings. This is a hard-earned achievement and we should make every effort to conserve and make good use of these assets. Yet, we all know that the present living environment is crowded due to a scarcity of land. It is difficult to identify readily available land for industrial and commercial establishments, residential premises, schools, hostels, elderly homes and other facilities.

     My policies seek to sustain a stable development of land and building space, while attaching importance to conservation. We will try to strike a balance between the two. Where necessary, we will make choices in the best interests of the community. This requires not only objective analysis, but also courage. We lack neither funds nor technologies for development. As long as we dare to dream and act, Hong Kong can be a pleasant, safe, comfortable and convenient city. On land utilisation, if we want to conserve our countryside, which accounts for 43 per cent of the territory, we must make even better use of the 25 per cent of urban land. We need optimal utilisation of existing sites. We also need to promote green buildings, adopt low-carbon amenities and transport, and open up more usable land to turn Hong Kong into a new green city.

     We will vigorously improve air quality and carefully consider public health when formulating clean air policies. We will consider a number of initiatives, including tighter control over and the eventual phasing out of old buses and commercial vehicles, re-aligning traffic routes, regulating the use of marine fuels, and making polluters pay. Regarding municipal waste management, the community must take the problem seriously and reduce waste at source, change their habits and foster a culture of green living.

     As regards heritage conservation, we will continue to encourage community participation in preserving and re-vitalising historic buildings and areas of distinct character, while at the same time respecting private ownership.

     We hope that through urban-rural co-operation, we can preserve the countryside and re-vitalise historic buildings to enable our people to live a balanced and quality city life.

Housing problem

     I will then talk about my view on housing problem.

     Our property market has seen an excess of demand over supply in recent years. Over the past few months, property prices and rentals have continued to rise by such an extent that they are now beyond people's affordability. The number of applicants on the public housing Waiting List is approaching 200 000 and many are young singletons. Many people complain about the difficulty to find decent accommodation. Their views about the property market are indeed shared by the Government. We both see the pressing need to solve the problem concerning home purchase and accommodation.

     Tackling the housing problem is a top priority of the current-term Government and the departments concerned. The Government will deal with the problem through a multi-pronged approach. To restore market equilibrium, the fundamental solution lies in increasing and maintaining a continuous supply of housing. This will enable us to address the housing needs and aspirations for home purchase of different groups of people. Previously, I announced a package of 10 short- and medium-term initiatives to increase housing supply. With the concerted efforts of various departments, we have significantly expedited pre-sale approval applications for uncompleted flats. We will sell the flats under the first My Home Purchase Plan project, which was originally conceived as a rent-to-buy scheme. We will also seek to rezone 36 Government, Institution or Community sites as residential land and revitalise industrial buildings to increase housing supply. On top of these measures, we have introduced a "Hong Kong property for Hong Kong residents" policy to give priority to local home buyers. Furthermore, we have set up a Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee to assess and analyse the future demand for various types of public and private housing (including subsidised home purchase) comprehensively and critically, and recommend a long-term housing strategy to guide the Government in its planning of land supply and land use.

     In the next three to four years, apart from public housing, it is expected that a total of 65 000 first-hand private residential units will come on the market, much more than the past few years. To rectify the housing problem once and for all, we need to ensure an adequate land supply and reasonable allocation of land resources. We also need to adjust the overall direction, scale and pace of development. The Steering Committee on Housing Land Supply, chaired by the Financial Secretary, is actively co-ordinating inter-departmental efforts to boost land development and supply.

     I would like to assure the public that the policy measures rolled out earlier on are only a start. In future, we will continue to implement timely initiatives to assist the grassroots with flat accommodation, help middle-income families buy their own homes, and promote the stable development of the property market. I and my team are committed to solving the housing problem.

Relationship between the Government and the 18 districts

     I will then talk about my view on the relationship between the Government and the 18 districts.

     I believe that "nothing about people's livelihood is trivial". Livelihood issues are often closely related to district administration. I made over 100 district visits during my election campaign, and have discussed in detail district affairs with the chairpersons and members of District Councils on many occasions since I assumed office. I am greatly impressed by the dedication and wisdom of district leaders.

     The HKSAR is a single-tier government with three distinct functions, namely, governance with a high degree of autonomy empowered by the Central Authorities, administration of the whole territory, and district administration.

     Regarding district affairs, I put forward the idea of "addressing district issues at the district level and capitalising on local opportunities" so as to gradually relax the Government's "all-embracing" hand on district affairs, encourage members of the community to play a more active role, and enhance the efficiency of district administration by leveraging the wisdom and power of local communities. We will explore ways to enhance district administration and foster a new and closer partnership with the District Councils and district leaders.

The re-organisation proposal

     Before the current-term Government took office, I had proposed to re-organise the Government Secretariat to address issues concerning the Government's overall co-ordination on major policies and internal division of responsibilities. Re-organisation is necessary because given the current social situation, policy making often involves a number of bureaux and there were instances of inadequate co-ordination on major policies that cut across different portfolios. The re-organisation plan, however, was not put to vote by the previous Legislative Council. The proposal may have been controversial, but it aimed to enhance governance, the division of responsibilities, co-operation and policy co-ordination, which are in line with my policy objective to do real work.

     Although the existing government structure is not ideal, a re-launch of the re-organisation proposal might result in another round of protracted meetings in this Council. I have therefore decided not to re-submit my re-organisation proposal to this Council in the near future, so that the Government can focus on other areas of work. I have asked my policy secretaries to strengthen co-operation and co-ordination among them and work closer as a team to formulate and implement effective policies in response to our people's needs.

Political development

     Political development is a very complicated and controversial issue. It has been discussed and examined by the community over the years, sometimes giving rise to heated debates. After years of hard work, the constitutional reform package was finally endorsed in 2010, signifying a step forward in the development of our political system. I do not underestimate the difficulty of the next stage of work, but I will work together with the HKSAR Government and different sectors of the community to forge a consensus in the community based on the overall and long-term interests of Hong Kong to achieve the ultimate goal of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Conclusion

     President, Honourable Members and fellow citizens, I am fully aware that our deep-seated social, political and economic problems can hardly be solved within a short time. That is why, during my election campaign, I called upon the people of Hong Kong to rise to challenges and to work for a better Hong Kong with "one heart, one vision". I have also raised the point that we would need two years to turn around Hong Kong's lagging social development, and another two or three years to get back on the upward track.

     I am grateful for the advice given by various sectors of the community during the past three months. Thanks to their advice and the concerted efforts of my political team and the civil service, and their co-operation and mutual support, the Government has taken forward a series of full-fledged policies and measures in a timely manner. My team has also reached consensus on certain complex and long-standing tasks that straddle different departments. I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks for their efforts. In our first three months, we delivered results in some spheres and saw challenges in others. We will learn from our experience and continue to improve the operation of my Government. Your views on our work are welcome.

     Hong Kong belongs not to a small group of people, but to all seven million of us. It is not just a place for this generation, but also home to our future generations. The well-being of Hong Kong should be our common concern. If we look down from Victoria Peak, Lion Rock, Pat Sin Leng or Lantau Peak we will be impressed by the prosperity of our city. But we will also see the pressing need for further development. Hong Kong is not short of land, nor do we lack capital, talent and technology. What we need is a holistic and long-term approach towards planning. We should be determined and courageous. We need to pull together, try to see things from different angles, and seek common ground on all sorts of issues. I trust that you will take a positive and long-term view in evaluating opportunities and embrace new challenges with confidence and composure. I believe in the systems and values of Hong Kong. I also believe in the people of Hong Kong. As long as the Government, Members of the Legislative Council and the entire community are united as one, we can certainly build a better Hong Kong. Thank you.

Ends/Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:06

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